The news that Jussie Smollett has been charged with filing a false police report, in what the charging documents are calling a staged hate crime, has certainly been embarrassing for the various notable people who issued public support following the initial reports of the attack. This includes several politicians, including multiple 2020 presidential candidates.
One of those candidates, California Sen. Kamala Harris, had reacted to reports that Smollett was attacked by calling it a “modern-day lynching.” After the charges were filed, Harris issued another statement, per The Inquisitr, and proclaimed herself “sad, frustrated, and disappointed.”
Now, the names of Smollett and Harris are connected in another way through the spread online of a totally false conspiracy theory, which alleges that the two are related and that perhaps Harris played a role in the hoax.
Per reporter Ben Collins of NBC News on Twitter, the conspiracy theory appears to have originated on 4Chan. It alleges that Harris is, in fact, Jussie Smollett’s aunt, they were once photographed at the same rally, and that therefore she conspired with him to stage the attack. The “evidence” for this is that Smollett’s mother’s maiden name is Harris and that a Harris-sponsored anti-lynching law had passed the U.S. Senate around the time of the false attack.
A post by conservative blog The American Thinker alleged that the “Chicago political machine” assisted Smollett with the hoax, with the site quoting a series of tweets by the Twitter personality Tariq Nasheed, asking “who else was involved in this hoax.” Actor James Woods tweeted that article to his large Twitter following.
This "Kamala Harris is Jussie Smollett's aunt" conspiracy was fueled from a few 4chan posts from several days ago.— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) February 23, 2019
One is just a baseless speculation on the same, extremely common last names of family members.
It heated up because people didn't know "nephew" was slang. pic.twitter.com/ktAdCOlwKd
In fact, Harris is not Smollett’s aunt, nor are they related at all. No profile of either of them has ever mentioned a relation, while Harris’ only sibling is Maya Harris, a former Hillary Clinton adviser who is now working on her sister’s campaign. Maya Harris is not Jussie Smollett’s mother, although she was subject of her own conspiracy theory last month, related to years-old news that she had been hired by MSNBC, per The Inquisitr.
Furthermore, there is nothing in any of the charging documents for Smollett, or in any statement by law enforcement during any stage of the case, indicating that any outside figures participated in Smollett’s alleged hoax, aside from the two brothers who were formerly suspects. And the anti-lynching law passed unanimously in mid-February, per Harris’ website, meaning that participating in a faking of a hate crime involving a celebrity would likely not have been necessary.